COP27 Unites Again To Discuss Climate Solutions

Liam Frith, Staff Writer

With climate change becoming an increasingly important issue in the minds of many, this year’s attempts at curbing it will stick out as particularly important. Recently, the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference – known as the Conference of the Parties (COP) – convened for the 27th time to try and do just this. The conference this year was held in Egypt, placing greater emphasis on the continent most affected by climate change: Africa. 

In addition to placing more attention on the most affected regions and how to best support these areas, COP27 also took a look at combating food and water insecurities brought about by climate change, investments in green energy and incentives for private corporations to follow suit in the conference’s mission for a greener future. They also established a lost and damaged fund to give countries disproportionately affected by climate change financial assistance.

Many diplomats and leaders traveled to the conference, expecting it to bring positive results for their nations and organizations. Notable attendees included new British head of state Rishi Sunak, President of the World Bank David Malpass and Chinese climate spokesperson Xie Zhenhua. This collection of powerful people has given many the impression that real change will be coming as a result of the meeting, making some optimistic for the future and appreciative of the conference’s ability to organize powerful people.

However, COP27 has also had its fair share of critics, with many voicing a worry that the meeting serves only as a virtue signal, a performative excuse to show polluters as being concerned for the future of the world while simultaneously doing nothing to really ensure its sustainability. This criticism is rooted in the fact that many promises made in previous years by participating nations have been reeled back, scaled down or even dismissed.

This has furthered the notion to some that the conference is useless and more of a show of false care than an action motivated by real concern. One notable proponent of this narrative is the youth climate activist Greta Thunberg, who in response to a question at her latest book launch called the conference a place where countries can participate in “greenwashing, lying and cheating.”

Whether this year’s annual meeting brings about change or not, all eyes are on the numerous new promises made by the participating members. The question of whether these promises will be kept is pressing and particularly important to those valuing a more sustainable future.